Galaxy S4 vs SGS3: What's different?

You're sitting here, reading this, perhaps even on the SGS3, and you're wondering how the phone you love and cherish just got old. Nothing's changed in your mind of course, but the world around you has, sorry.

Is it really that bad, has the announcement of the new SGS4 made your Samsung Galaxy S3 outdated just as yesterday's newspaper has become chip-paper? And should you start planning on how you need to upgrade?

It's bigger, but smaller

That's right, Samsung has made a smartphone that has bigger individual elements to it such as a larger screen and a bigger battery, but in a case that is physically smaller.

The SGS4 measures 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm to the SGS3's 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm dimensions. It's also 3g lighter if you're counting the pounds, but features a 5-inch screen over the 4.7-inch screen in the Samsung Galaxy S III and a 2,600mAh battery over the 2,100mAh offering previously.

It's faster

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will come with a 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos processor in the UK and a 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor in the US.

We aren't yet sure what difference that will make in the real world, and chances are you won't get a choice anyway unless you go off-piste and start importing the handset you want, but it's safe to say that it's faster than the current processor in the SGS3 on sale at the moment.

The RAM is also getting a boost to 2GB (twice that of the SGS3) which will help you open all those apps you like to run, although it is the same as the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE (GT-I9305) available on EE in the UK, just not the SGS3 you probably own. 

Higher-resolution screen

SGS4 goes full HD compared to the SGS3's 720p offering and there are more pixels per inch too. 441ppi up from 306ppi. Both are Super AMOLED and both are very good. 

A tougher screen too

SGS4 uses Gorilla Glass 3, SGSIII uses Gorilla Glass 2. Gorilla Glass 3 is said to be three-times more durable when it comes to on-screen scratch resistance, resulting in 40 per cent fewer visible scratches than with Gorilla Glass 2. It's also claimed the technology has a 50 per cent boost in retained strength after flaws develop.

Camera specs boosted

It's 13 megapixels vs 8 megapixels and there are a load of extra features on top of the core camera sensor specs that should make a difference too.

The most exciting thing to note here is that the camera interface for the SGS4 features a lot of the same modes found in the Samsung Galaxy Camera. That means a bevy of new features to play with like Dual recording, which can record stills and video from both the front and back camera simultaneously, giving you picture-in-picture, so you can see your reaction at the time of the shot.

Word has it though that many of the Samsung Galaxy S4 features will come to the Galaxy S3 if the hardware supports it, so it's worth bearing that in mind. We suspect the SGS3 will be getting many of the new camera modes and features. 

More storage

The Samsung Galaxy S4 now comes in a 64GB version for those that really like storing things.

Better software

Android 4.2.2 instead of Android 4.1 means you get the latest version of Android Jelly Bean without having to wait for an update as soon as you get it out of the box. It should bring with it more tricks, but we aren't sure exactly what at this stage.

What we do know is that the SGS4 will come with a stack of new Samsung-flavoured software features like Air View, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause and S translator, all designed to save you having to touch your phone to control it.

Although Samsung dabbled with some gesture and motion experiences with the SGS3 the company has notched it up another gear for the new Galaxy phone. if you like Samsung TouchWiz and the software enhancements you are going to be in your element, but if you've turned most of them off - like that one that let you make a call by picking up your phone and placing to your head as long as you were previously texting that person - then the new software on offer isn't going to do much for you. 

Samsung believes touching your phone is so 2012, you may not. 

Conclusions

From a pure hardware perspective there are plenty of updates here and that includes a new tweaked design (some will tell you it's the SGS3S but that's a bit unfair). The SGS4 is a step forward, but based on specs more of an evolution than a revolution.